By ALIYA THOMAS
Alex Nicholson created an organization last summer to provide blankets for the Metro Atlanta Task Force for the Homeless for the cold winter that was ahead. She calls her organization Project Warm Atlanta: Blankets for the Homeless.
Nicholson, 22, is a college student who has always had a concern for less fortunate people. Being from Atlanta, she has seen a lot of homeless people, especially in the downtown area. She grew up volunteering in her church and has always loved it. In July of 2014, troubling times caused her to seek refuge in helping other people. This fueled her drive to start the organization.
“I was thinking to myself one day, why do I have so many blankets on my bed?’’ Nicholson said, “I don’t need this many and I knew that it was going to be cold this winter so I decided that I would donate my blankets to a shelter.”
She asked family and friends to donate as well, and they did. On Thanksgiving of 2014, Nicholson went to the Metro Atlanta Task Force for her first drop off. She went alone. The turnout was successful but she said the next time she went, she brought friends with her because the area was unsafe.
The Metro Atlanta Task Force is a nonprofit organization that believes that ending homelessness requires developing communities and neighborhoods that include rather than exclude people. It operates a shelter for the homeless that is open seven days a week, for 24 hours. It accepts any donations that are given so that it has supplies for the people in need. Its drop off time is open to anyone from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m.
“The people are always welcoming, they always say thank you and God bless,” Nicholson said, “They usually want more than one blanket and they ask for coats as well. People are welcome to donate coats too.”
Nicholson said that her friends always have a good time when they go to donate the blankets. She said that it is an eye opener to see how many people live like this. Since Nicholson went back to school and started working again, it has been difficult to keep up with everything. She appointed a chairman and a president to help her out with details and pick-ups of donations.
It is no doubt that Nicholson’s friends and family are very proud of her for what she has started. She created a Facebook page that has kept all of her friends and family involved in what she is doing. She said that Facebook was easier to have everyone involved instead of seeking out everyone individually.
Bergendi White, one of Nicholson’s friends who helped donate and drop off, said, “I am very proud of Alex for starting her nonprofit organization. It touches my heart how much she thinks of others. I was happy to contribute and it feels good to know my blankets are keeping someone warm at night.”
Nicholson plans to continue donating for the remainder of this winter but she also plans to donate in the future winters to come as well. She hopes that her message reaches people and urges them to help as well.
“I needed something to help me get out of myself,” she said, “I went through a transformation within myself and I decided to start something by myself because I wasn’t afraid of failing anymore.”